Pulling the engine requires a lot of advance work. The shop manual lists the steps, but not piece by piece–just action by action. Obviously removing the radiator means removing everything in front of it, including the grille and fenders. So I start here.
When the hood is opened the first thing visible is this nose, the upper grille baffle, a plate that covers the radiator. It probably isn’t absolutely necessary structurally, but as you can see, the hood latch sits in the middle. Its real purpose is to direct air moving from the grill through the radiator just behind it. There are places for fifteen bolts, but one is missing (not quite visible on steep slope to the left). Two rubber bumpers (left one missing, the right one is the round black thing on the right) provide shock absorption for the hood as it closes and presumably keep it from rattling too badly when driving. I don’t remember a time when Green didn’t rattle, so the missing bumper is no loss.
There are at least two different sizes of bolts holding the baffle onto the radiator frame, each with a lock washer. The ones across the top also hold the clips through which pass the cable of wires for the passenger-side headlamp and running light. These bolts thread into either a tapped hole in the frame, or if into sheet metal, into a nut that is mounted on the opposite side of the mated piece (don’t have any pictures of those).
Unfortunately, I found out immediately that both bolts in the front corners of the baffle next to the fenders were rusted solidly in place. The one on the left snapped cleanly with hardly any effort. Despite a generous helping of WD-40 penetrating oil and smacking the driver’s side one with a drift punch and hammer to loosen things, that head also snapped off with very little effort, leaving me a new project to extract them. I suspect that they were rusted deeply in place because rainwater and snow-melt would run through here on its gravity-mandated race to the ground. The other bolts were similarly difficult, but one I got out. The other was also beheaded. Fortunately, I was able to reach a hand through the grille and up under the baffle to get out the bolt body in the image on the right. It was one of the front just in front of the corner of the latch.
I was a bit surprised to find out that the bolts with smaller heads are in fact sheet-metal screws, which require their own type of nut, a clip which slides onto a punched hole in the body panel’s sheet metal. The clips provide an effective way to anchor the screw and can be replaced without risking damage to the sheet metal itself.
Here is the upper radiator baffle from underneath. Comparing the top image to the one here, it is clear that the hood latch bolts onto the underside of the upper grille baffle. I’ll deal with that later; it works fine and there is no reason to tear into it.
You can see that some of the bolts go into the grille frame assembly. The two support rods were not too much support—neither was bolted onto the bottom baffle. One had a bolt in place but did not actually go through the hole for it; the other simply didn’t have a bolt, so both were hanging loose. I was surprised to see that the bolt head had a cast-in part number: “W1” over a “C”.
So here is the front of Green with the upper grille baffle removed. In the picture above, the lower grille baffle is visible below and in front of the radiator. It bolts on from the bottom and does not promise too much excitement, so I’ll skip documenting its removal unless something interesting happens in the process.
What I did find, atop the bottom baffle and behind the grille, was a couple handfuls of dirt and decaying plant matter (mostly seeds and leaves from my uncle’s barnyard). Nostalgia strikes you over the most curious things, in this case it was a handful of dirt. Some of that grit undoubtedly blew in there while I was driving Green regularly. It is from the ravine where I used Green to haul sprinkler pipes. It is the blowing dust on the gravel road back from the west fields with a load of baled hay. It is from the orchard where I loaded crates of apples. From the north corral where we backed up to the barn to unload into the hay loft. A few grains are from the small two-car parking lot on the south side of grandma’s house beyond the lawn and hedge, where Green spent most of its time parked, if it wasn’t in the orchard, staring into the sunset. That is the Great Basin dirt and dust of my childhood and young adulthood. I am terribly sentimental and it made me think and remember as I was sweeping up—but not so sentimental that I kept it. There is a limit, y’know, even for me.
I’m taking Green apart piece by piece, and there are a lot of pieces to keep straight. Just for the record, all of these fasteners, including broken ones, go in groups into one-quart freezer bags. I write the part name and assembly manual sheet number onto a piece of paper and stick it in there as well so that I can both find them easily and reuse the unmarked bags as the project goes along. The bagged stuff is stored in the large drawers of the tool cabinet; the larger parts go into the bed of the truck. Matching parts like the support rods get zip-tied together. And I document everything photographically before it gets removed, so I know what should be there when I try to put back together the puzzle. Don’t trust my memory.